UW Today

June 20, 2012

Making it mobile: Smartphone apps abound at iSchool

News and Information

Shuteye is a smartphone application that guides users toward making choices that improve the quality of their sleep.

Shuteye is a smartphone application that guides users toward making choices that improve the quality of their sleep.Jared Bauer, Sunny Consolvo

Would a nap or a jog just now ruin your sleep tonight? How about some coffee? A new smartphone application called Shuteye developed at the UW Information School guides users toward making choices that improve the quality of their sleep.

It’s one of several smartphone apps created by iSchool talents this school year. Others, from health to shopping and even updates to the popular OneBusAway, were created by iSchool students as capstone projects — final projects before graduation.

Shuteye is an app for Android-based phones. It was developed by UW doctoral student Jared Bauer with Sunny Consolvo, affiliate assistant professor and Julie Kientz, assistant professor, all with the Human Centered Design & Engineering Department, along with other co-authors.

The researchers described Shuteye on dub, the blog for the UW Human-Computer Interaction and Design program. “The intent of Shuteye is to help improve people’s awareness of healthy sleep hygiene — that is, the practices that are believed to promote improved quality of sleep.”

Shuteye shows itself as a series of horizontal bars on the user phones’ wallpaper and lockscreen image that represent a 24-hour window of time. The bars represent common activities known to disrupt sleep such as consuming caffeine or alcohol, napping, exercise or eating heavy meals. A thick bar means, basically, go ahead, while a thin bar means the activity is not recommended.

The researchers evaluated the app in a four-week field study with 12 participants. They presented their findings at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in May, in Austin, Texas.

Shuteye is now available through the Android marketplace and shows as having been downloaded between 1,000 and 5,000 times. Though finished with the application, Bauer said the iSchool’s Computing for Healthy Living & Learning Lab “is continuing to work on designing, developing and evaluating applications for sleep.”

But while Shuteye was in part a faculty project, iSchool students also were busy creating new phone apps, as they proved in the school’s May 31 capstone event.

For these capstone projects, students identified a real-world, research- or design-oriented information problem and figured out how to address it with an end product that could actually be used. They collaborated with public, private and nonprofit organizations for their projects, and were judged by industry experts with prizes awarded to those with the highest commercial value and greatest opportunity for positive social impact.

Created by graduate students:

App for the UW World Series, by Cheng Cheng and Ivy Yakun Jin. An iPhone app and website enabling the UW arts series stay in touch with its audience.

‘Two-Goals iPhone app for healthy habits, by Deepak Balachandar, Jackson (Jen-Chieh) Chang and Shane Wachirawuttichai. An app that breaks down healthy habits into manageable daily steps, based on research that starting small can help people achieve longer-term goals.

Unwind / Sleep by Design, by Daniel Cortez and Mobina Imtiaz. An app to help teenagers become aware of their sleep time and provide a way to unwind from daily stress.

Created by undergraduates:

Finding Costco warehouses, by Aleem Nasser, Chris Hicks, Chris Valencia and JT Jackson. Find a Costco warehouse without an Internet connection, based on the Android platform.

DealStream, by Ryan Malone, Haoyi Yang, Cheng Hao Cheung and Xaio Luo. An aggregator of web daily deals from sites such as Groupon, creating “ranked lists that are both location-aware and personalized for each individual user.”

OneBusAway: “Destination Alert,” by Kwangjin Bae, Jui Hsu, Min Kim and Dong Lee. An alert function for the Android version of the popular existing app that helps people keep from missing their stops.

OneBusAway: “Transit Ambassador,” by Spencer Thomas, Matt Meegard, Zachary Badger-Markey and Veronica Ivaniukovich. A crowdsourcing app for reporting service issues with the popular bus app, “to create a direct line of communication between transit riders and transit agencies.”

RSO Mobile, by Michael Cohen, Kelly Maddox and Casey Shey. An app that uses push notifications to help Registered Student Organizations stay in touch with and inform its members.

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Other UW co-authors of Shuteye are: Nathaniel F. Watson, associate professor of neurology; visiting scholar Jonathan Schooler and graduate student Eric Wu. Benjamin Greenstein of Intel Corp. also co-authored.